This article was copied from The Chicago Tribune Consumer Reviews
The best T-shirt dress for women
By SIAN BABISH
JAN 09, 2021 AT 8:01 AM
If you need to pack light for a warm-weather trip, forego the shorts and tanks and pack a few T-shirt dresses instead. They’re less bulky and can easily be dressed up or down with the right accessories. (BestReviews)
When it comes to wardrobe essentials, a little black dress surely tops the list. However, it’s not the only dress that should earn a spot in your closet. The T-shirt dress, a more casual option, also has a home in every woman’s wardrobe.
As their name implies, T-shirt dresses are inspired by the classic plain tee. They’re made with cotton blend material and offer a comfortable, relaxed fit. T-shirt dresses are also affordable and versatile, which is why women often buy several.
We’re covering everything you need to know about T-shirt dresses in our buying guide, and we’re sharing a few recommendations at the end.
Considerations when choosing T-shirt dresses for women
T-shirt dresses typically fall into two material categories: all-cotton or cotton blend. T-shirt dresses made with 100% cotton are popular for their lightweight, breathable feel. They become progressively softer in the wash. While the garment itself holds up well to frequent wash and wear, cotton T-shirt dresses are prone to shrinking and fading.
Cotton blend T-shirt dresses are usually made with rayon, polyester, modal, elastane, or spandex. These materials add stretch and durability to T-shirt dresses, plus they won’t fade or shrink. Unfortunately, they’re far less breathable than regular cotton.
Sleeve lengths vary quite a bit when it comes to T-shirt dresses, and there are several styles for short and long sleeves.
Short-sleeve styles are usually cut just below the shoulder as cap sleeves or mid-bicep. Some longer styles in this category graze the top of the elbow. Long-sleeve styles are cut anywhere below the elbow, with full-length and three-quarter-length as the most popular options.
Most T-shirt dresses are available in three popular cuts: A-line, straight, and bodycon. A-line T-shirt dresses feature a triangular shape that tapers at the waist for a flattering yet forgiving fit. Straight-cut styles are considered somewhat “boxy” as they have a loose cut that doesn’t taper at the waist. Bodycon T-shirt dresses hug the body and accentuate the waist, giving you an hourglass silhouette.
To find the best T-shirt dress with the most flattering fit, look at the waistlines of different styles. Empire waistlines cut just below the bust. They’re considered universally flattering as they don’t draw attention to the waist or hips. Styles with natural waistlines fall around the belly button and create an hourglass silhouette. Dropped-waist styles fall just below the hips and often feature loose skirts, which makes them universally flattering and somewhat forgiving.
Classic T-shirt dresses are cut around the knee or just above. Shorter styles are cut at the mid-thigh, while longer styles are available in midi and maxi lengths.
It’s important to note that the hemline of a T-shirt dress falls differently among wearers of different heights. Taller wearers, for example, may find a T-shirt dress is cut unusually short, while a shorter wearer may find it’s the perfect length with a hemline at the knee.
Simple T-shirt dresses with basic designs and colors cost $30 and below, though quality is hit or miss. A variety of well-made T-shirt dresses with unique details run between $30 and $50. The most expensive T-shirt dresses are made by premium brands and cost $60 and up.
Q. What colors or patterns of T-shirt dresses should I have in my wardrobe?
A. Consider a T-shirt dress in at least one neutral solid color, such as navy, black, or gray. Patterned T-shirt dresses with florals or stripes are also highly wearable and are easy to pair with solid cardigans, jackets, or blazers.
Q. How can I wear a T-shirt dress in colder weather?
A. It’s all about layering. Many women wear T-shirt dresses with leggings, winter boots, or chunky cardigans. Others wear long-sleeve shirts beneath short-sleeve T-shirt dresses.
T-shirt dresses for women we recommend
Our take: A simple, flowy T-shirt dress whose versatile design makes it a wardrobe staple.
What we like: Many colors and prints. Made with rayon and Spandex, which gives the dress considerable flexibility and movement. Has understated pockets as a charming detail.
What we dislike: Directions recommend hand washing. May be a bit snug on wearers with larger busts.
Our take: Earns praise as a comfortable style that looks more expensive than it is.
What we like: Made with a luxe jersey blend of viscose and elastane for a cool, lightweight fit. Can be worn dressed up or down, and is a popular choice as a beach cover-up. Wearers love the V neckline.
What we dislike: Only available in solid colors.
Our take: An incredibly popular design that’s universally flattering and affordable.
What we like: Tulip-inspired hemline hugs curves and helps create an hourglass silhouette. Made with lightweight polyester and cotton. Sleeves are relaxed. Available in more than 30 different colors.
What we dislike: Skirt may ride up or shift while you walk or sit down.
Sian Babish is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
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